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Category: LPGA

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Yani Tseng looking to defend title

Yani-tseng_600

Defending champion Yani Tseng, ranked No. 1 in the world, is quickly putting herself in contention at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. As part of the group that teed off in the afternoon, and fighting heat that has reached 105 on the Mission Hills Country Club course in Rancho Mirage, Tseng is five under par through 14 holes and alone in second place, two shots behind leader Stacy Lewis, who has already posted a two-day total of nine-under 135.

Tseng has birdied five of her last six holes and seems unbothered by the stifling conditions. Many players are using umbrellas specially designed to lower the temperature by as much as 10 degrees for those standing underneath them. Tseng's partner Sandra Gal, who won last week's Kia Classic, is suffering from a heat-caused headache she told her father about two holes ago. Gal is one-over Friday and is tied for seventh (she started the day tied for third).

Morgan Pressel, who won here in 2007, is also working on a solid second round. Pressel, 22, is three-under through 13 holes and is tied for fifth with Chie Aramura, who is one-under and still on the course.

RELATED:

Stacy Lewis opens 3-shot lead in second round

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Yani Tseng tees off at No. 16 on Friday during the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Michelle Wie best round of the morning

Lizleunc Even after she shot a two-over 74 on Thursday in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Michelle Wie was not unhappy with her game. She said she had hit the ball well mostly, made a couple of bad strokes but even sitting 54th and seemingly more in danger of missing the cut than challenging the leaders, Wie was not discouraged.

And for good reason.

Wie has just finished her second round and she's in with a score of five-under-par 67 on a day where early indications are that scores will be higher as the continuing heat bakes the greens and makes them faster and faster. Wie is now tied for 10th at three-under for the tournament (141). She had six birdies and a single bogey on her round.

She trails current leader Stacy Lewis, who has a two-day total of nine-under 135 by six shots.

First-round co-leader Brittany Lincicome is in with an even-par 72 and is tied for second with Jane Park of Rancho Cucamonga who had a second-round 70. They are three behind Lewis.

Among the first round of finishers Friday, Sophie Gustafson of Sweden also made a big move with a four-under 68. She moved from a tie for 27th into a current tie for fifth.

Cristie Kerr, ranked No. 3 in the world coming into the tournament, is already one-over through three holes of her second round and seven-over for the tournament. She will have to start making some birdies if she's to have any hope of surviving Friday afternoon's cut.

RELATED:

Stacy Lewis opens 3-shot lead in second round

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Michelle Wie. Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty Images.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Stacy Lewis opens 3-shot lead in second round

Liziz2nc Stacy Lewis, the 25-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas, who is an eager participant in charities that benefit sufferers from scoliosis (curvature of the spine), which put Lewis in a body cast when she was 11 and caused her to need back surgery to implant rods and screws in her spine when she was 18 (after which she promptly went and became an All-American golfer at the University of Arkansas), has opened up a three-shot lead in the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Friday.

Lewis finished Friday with a score of 69 and has a two-day total of 135. Her closest pursuer is one-time UCLA player Jane Park, who is from Rancho Cucamonga and who shot a two-under 70 Friday to put her at six-under for the tournament with a two-day total of 138.

Brittany Lincicome, who was the first-round co-leader with Lewis, is also at six under through 16 and is even-par in her round Friday.

Sophie Gustafson from Sweden, along with Michelle Wie and Sun Young Yoo, are all working on rounds of three-under so far Friday. Gustafson is through 15 holes and is three-under for the tournament, in a tie for seventh after starting the day tied for 27th. Wie is through 14 holes and is one-under for the tournament and has moved from a tie for 54th to a tie for 18th. Yoo is also tied for 18th.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome tied again

Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead at KNC

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Stacy Lewis. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome tied again

Photo: Stacy Lewis watches her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage. Credit: Chris Carlson First-round co-leader (and 2009 Kraft Nabisco Champion) Brittany Lincicome has birdied two of her last three holes and she is back in a tie for the lead in the second round with Stacy Lewis.

Lincicome and Lewis are seven-under on the Mission Hills Country Club Course in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Lewis is through 12 holes and Lincicome through 10.

While scores are a little higher so far Friday than on Thursday, Michelle Wie is working on the best round of the morning. She is four-under par through nine holes and has moved up from a tie for 54th to a tie for ninth. Wie had shot a two-over 74 on Thursday.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead


New leaders emerging in the afternoon at KNC

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Stacy Lewis watches her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage. Credit: Chris Carlson.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead

Photo: Jane Park. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.
Jane Park,
who grew up in Rancho Cucamonga and who played for UCLA for a season before turning professional, is a shot behind leader Stacy LewisFriday in the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Park, who had spoken Thursday about how much she loves the course, said, "You know, the greens are very pure. I love it when you hit a putt and it goes right where you want it to go. It's an intimidating course, but it just provides a really good challenge, it challenges all aspects of your game, short game, driving, irons, everything."

Lewis, a first-round co-leader, is alone at the top at seven-under through nine holes. Park is six-under (she's two-under on the day and had joined Lewis in the lead until bogeying the par-three fifth hole).

The other first-round co-leader, Brittany Lincicome, is third now, at six-under through nine holes.

Michelle Wie, who had started tied for 54th place and two-over par, seems to have found her game so far Friday. She is four-under on the day, two-under for the tournament and tied for ninth with another former UCLA golfer, Mariajo Uribe.

RELATED:

New leaders emerging in the afternoon at KNC

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Getting hot in the desert

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Jane Park. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: New leaders emerging in the afternoon

Lincicome_300 For most of the day there were co-leaders at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the season. Germany's Sandra Gal and Japan's Mika Miyazato (note: an earlier version of this post listed Miyazato's first name as Ai), among the morning 's early players, had finished with scores of five under par at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

And it looks as if the day may end with co-leaders as well. Just different ones.

Stacy Lewis, a former All-American at the University of Arkansas who has an iron rod in her back because she had a severe case of scoliosis (curvature of the spine), and Brittany Lincicome, who won her only major title here in 2009, posted six-under 66s even though they were hiding in the few patches of shade as temperatures climbed higher than 100 degrees on the course. That puts them a stroke in front of Gal and Miyazato, who both posted 67s.

Lewis, 25, hasn't won yet on the LPGA Tour, but her round Thursday featured seven birdies including three in a row on 13, 14, 15, which seemed almost a fighting response to her single bogey. Lewis made a 6-foot putt to keep that bogey from something worse and she said that was a momentum switch. "I think that helped me really get going," she said.

Lincicome, also 25 and from Seminole, Fla., had a bogey-free round.

There are still some challengers on the course who could join the leaders. Jane Park of Rancho Cucamonga (she also played one year at UCLA), is five under with five holes to play. And rising British star Melissa Reid is two behind the leaders with two holes left.

Michelle Wie, who had arrived at the place where she first played as a 13-year-old in 2003 with high hopes, is two-over through 17 holes and tied for 58th.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard

Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie are optimistic at Mission Hills

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Brittany Lincicome tees off at No. 11 on Thursday during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Getting hot in the desert

Photo: Melissa Reid tees off at No. 16 during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Thursday. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press

While early finishers Sandra Gal and Ai Miyazato are still co-leaders of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage at five-under-par 67, there's a trio of hot golfers on the course who are threatening to climb to the top of the leaderboard and maybe pass them.

Britain's Melissa Reid just birdied the par-five 18th to get to five under. Reid started on the back nine and is now coming to the first hole.

Brittany Lincicome, who won this major championship in 2009, is one of three golfers at four under. Lincicome, who started on the back nine, is through 11 holes. Stacy Lewis, another American, is four under through 12 holes (she also started on the back nine). Japan's Chie Aramura had finished earlier with a four-under 68.

Michelle Wie, who first played here in 2003 at 13, has bogeyed three of her last four holes to balloon to three over par through her first 11.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard

Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie are optimistic at Mission Hills

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Melissa Reid tees off at No. 16 during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Thursday. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Melissa Reid wants to be like Tiger Woods

Liy20hnc Melissa Reid has birdied her first three holes at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, and if you haven't heard of her yet, it's because she's done most of her golfing work on the Ladies European Tour (LET).

Reid isn't shy. She spoke to the London Times about her teenage years when she wasn't afraid to party and she said her goal is to be the female Tiger Woods. Reid also seems to attract trouble. She was bitten by a snake at a tournament in China last fall. It's all OK though. Reid, 23, has her own Melissa Reid appreciation society Facebook page.

ALSO:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Pat Hurst out fast

Two former champs starting well at KNC

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Melissa Reid of England smiles after saving par on the 15th hole during the first round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament in Rancho Mirage, California March 31, 2011. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Pat Hurst out fast

Pat Hurst is 41 years old and will be the first to tell you she isn't the most svelte golfer on the LPGA Tour. Her waist is not the tiniest. Sometimes her shirt is untucked and, yes, you can see her sweat. Especially when it's pushing 100 degrees in the hot desert sun.

But Hurst is playing in front of a large and enthusiastic gallery who has given her loud encouragement so far today, and it's working. Hurst, who won her only golf major here at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 1998, has birdied three of her first five holes and that score of three-under puts here in a tie for fourth.

Hurst, who played college golf at San Jose State, has six career wins.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championships: Two former champs starting well

Mika Miyazato shares lead at KNC

-- Diane Pucin

Kraft Nabisco Championships: Two former champs starting well

Pressel_275 Morgan Pressel, 22, won her only major -- and her first tournament of any kind -- in 2007 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Thursday she had a feisty two-under 70 that has her tied for sixth with 20 others, including defending champion Yani Tseng and Brittany Lincicome, who won her first and only major here in 2008 and who started her first round birdie-birdie.

Former UCLA player Mariajo Uribe from Colombia also finished at two-under.

Michelle Wie, a big crowd favorite who first played here in 2003 as a 13-year-old, just parred her first two holes, the par-four 10th and par-five 11th. There are 12 golfers yet to tee off.

Sandra Gal and Mika Miyazato have both finished with five-under-par 67s and that's the standard so far.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Mika Miyazato shares lead

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Sandra Gal posts score to shoot for

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Morgan Pressel plays her tee shot at the third hole on Thursday. Credit: David Cannon / Getty Images

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Mika Miyazato shares lead

Lixuahnc Mika Miyazato has tied Sandra Gal as the clubhouse leader during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Miyazato birdied the par-three 17th hole (her drive landed six feet from the cup, the putt was perfect) to finish at five-under par 67. Miyazato is playing the season's first major for the third time; her best finish was last year, a tie for 40th.

Miyazato, 21, is one of a trio of Japanese LPGA players (along with Ai Miyazato, who is no relation to Mika, and Momoko Ueda) who have designed a logo they are wearing on their golf hats to show solidarity with Japan as the country recovers from this month's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear-reactor damage.

ALSO:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Sandra Gal posts score to shoot for

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Mika Miyazato of Japan plays her third shot on the 9th hole during the first round of the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship on the Dinah Shore Championship Course at the Mission Hills Country Club on March 31, 2011 in Rancho Mirage, California. Credit: David Cannon / Getty Images

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